Wasabi believes in a single tier and no egress fees

Wasabi is a single-tier, public cloud storage service provider that claims to offer substantially lower prices than AWS, with no data egress or API charges, and its CEO thinks the growth runway is a long one.

As of late last year, Wasabi had more than 40,000 customers in over 100 countries, 13,000 partners, 250-plus global employees, and 13 storage regions across North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. The investors must have seen great potential for growth.

David Friend, Wasabi
David Friend

Wasabi was started in September 2015 by CEO David Friend and CTO Jeff Flowers. Prior to that, the pair were at cloud backup and storage service supplier Carbonite for 10 years from 2005 to 2015, which they also founded.

Carbonite was formed to provide online backup services to PC and Mac users. It bought Phanfare in June 2011 and then IPO’d, raising $62.5m in August that year. Friend became Carbonite’s exec chairman in December 2014, with Mohammad Ali becoming CEO. Friend left in 2015 and Carbonite then bought Seagate’s EVault cloud backup operation for just $14m in December 2015. OpenText bought Carbonite for $1.4 billion in late 2019 and still offers Carbonite services.

We got the opportunity to catch up with Friend and asked him some questions to tease out Wasabi’s thoughts about offering more than basic single-tier object storage services.

Blocks & Files: What is Wasabi’s roadmap in terms of storage services?

David Friend: Our roadmap is simple: laser focus on being the world’s best cloud storage. That means a relentless pursuit of higher performance, greater efficiency, superior uptime, bulletproof security, and ever-improving ease of use.  

Having completed a $250 million series D round in 2022, we will be using this year to continue our global expansion and introduce new products that enhance the value of our core cloud storage.  Recent introductions include Wasabi Cloud Sync Manager and Wasabi Surveillance Cloud.

Wasabi Cloud Sync Manager has been designed for high-performance use cases. It has an intuitive administrative interface featuring customizable dashboards and built-in pricing analytics, making it easy for customers to estimate costs, configure storage parameters, and move and replicate data to optimise cost, performance, and protection.

Wasabi Surveillance Cloud is a first-of-its-kind solution that enables organisations to offload video surveillance footage from their local storage environment directly to the cloud without ever running out of capacity. This “bottomless” approach is a game changer for the surveillance industry, which handles massive amounts of video in high-resolution environments, increasingly large file sizes, stringent regulatory and retention requirements, and business and analytics applications tied to surveillance.

Blocks & Files: Does Wasabi offer tiering?

David Friend: We believe in keeping things simple and prefer a one-size-fits-all model.  Adding tiers complicates user applications and their development and maintenance.  Compared with the hyperscalers, Wasabi is less expensive than their cheapest hot tier, and faster than their most expensive hot tier. So there is really no need for additional tiers. In addition, bills are simple and understandable. They are also predictable because, unlike the hyperscalers, there are no hidden charges, such as egress or API charges. If you know how much data you have, you know what your costs are going to be. No surprises.  Because Wasabi is both faster and less expensive, customers use it for both hot and cold storage.  

Blocks & Files: What is Wasabi’s strategy around egress charging?

David Friend: Cloud storage users hate egress charges and other hidden fees. Depending on how often you access your data, these extra charges can double your cloud storage costs. Beyond simply adding cost, egress charges make customer bills unpredictable. Nobody likes to have to explain to the CFO why cloud storage costs came in double what they were expecting.  

Most of our customers are migrating their data to the cloud from on-prem storage. While they always know how much data they have, almost nobody knows or measures how often their data is accessed. That’s why egress fees and API charges make cloud costs so unpredictable.  

Our customers can build realistic budgets and expectations around cost because they will not be facing any hidden or complex charges. 

Blocks & Files: Does Wasabi offer tape storage?

David Friend: While there may be a role for tape in dead, long-term storage for compliance, the Total Costs of Ownership of tape and HDD storage are converging. Depending on how often data is retrieved, HDD storage may already be cheaper than tape. And of course there is no comparison when it comes to performance. People are now accustomed to getting instant access to all their data, so the trend is to sunset most tape applications and migrate data to a hot storage cloud like Wasabi.  

Blocks & Files: What kind of disk storage does Wasabi offer? Does it use SMR disks and what are its thoughts on SMR disk technology?

David Friend: Wasabi has experimented with SMR technology, but we found that there were no compelling savings. The industry is making rapid advances with the introduction of HAMR and other new recording technologies, and we want to be in the mainstream of these new technologies in order to be on the cutting edge of high performance, low-cost, storage.  

Blocks & Files: What are Wasabi’s views on offering block and file storage services?

David Friend: Block storage is generally used for fast, production-oriented workloads. Block storage devices usually have to be located very close to their associated computers. Hence block storage does not lend itself to a pure cloud storage service. 

Wasabi has an excellent approach to file storage. It’s called Wasabi Cloud NAS. Wasabi Cloud NAS is a piece of software that runs on local file storage devices and automatically moves file contents to Wasabi’s object storage cloud. It leaves a metadata stub on the local file server that makes the cloud storage completely transparent to the user’s applications. It is as if the local file storage had infinite capacity.  

Blocks & Files: How does Wasabi view Web3 Storage?

David Friend: Web3 storage is a suite of APIs and services that make it easy for developers and other users to interact with data in a way that is not tied to where the data is actually physically stored. Obviously Wasabi can be one of the places where data can be physically stored. Wasabi supports the S3 API which has become the de facto standard for interacting with object storage.